Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, started a major league game Wednesday night for the first time since Sept. 25, 2011. It was not a pretty sight. It also wasn’t all Hernandez’s fault.
In the Cleveland Indians’ 8-4 loss to the Angels, Hernandez pitched six innings, giving up eight runs on 10 hits, two of them home runs. However, three of those eight runs were unearned thanks to three Indians errors in a five-run Angels fifth inning that basically decided the game.
Hernandez did not walk or strike out a batter. He threw 88 pitches, 56 of them strikes. All in all, it was a so-so 2012 debut for Hernandez, who missed the first four months of the season as a result of his arrest for identity theft in his native Dominican Republic during the offseason.
That’s how long it took for his case to be settled and for him to be granted a visa to return to the United States and resume his major league career. Once Hernandez did he also had to serve a three-week suspension handed down by Major League Baseball.
Wednesday night, he finally returned to work. He will take a regular turn in the rotation for the last six weeks of the season, and he will have a lot riding on his performance over those six weeks.
The Indians hold a $6 million club option on Hernandez’s contract for 2013, and there is no guarantee that option will be exercised. Indians officials will undoubtedly evaluate how Hernandez looks and performs over the last six weeks before deciding whether to bring him back next year.